First Māori inducted into prestigious international leadership programme

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Nikora Ngaropo (Te Rarawa, Tūhoe) has recently been announced a member of the Asia 21 Young Leaders initiative for 2019. He is the first Māori to receive this honour and will join dozens of other influential individuals from around the globe as they work together in San Francisco.  

"I'm really stoked! Its an acknowledgement of the achievements that I've had but it also means that for all of those other amazing Māori, and there are many of them.... there is a door way open now and I can help bring them into this wider, larger global community. 

Growing up in Wellington, Ngaropo has worked in the creative industry for 20 plus years, starting off at Weta Digital, and is currently the C.E.O and founder of Nikora Ngaropo Media Design (NNMD) based out of Hamilton. 

His resume is rather impressive, being involved in blockbuster films such as the BFG, The Hobbit, Avengers, Avatar and more.

“There are two movies which really stand out for me. Avatar was the first because it broke new ground in cinema. The second was Tintin which was Weta’s first full length animated feature," he says. 

Nikora Ngaropo was involved in the lighting, texturing, and building of the sets in the Hollywood Blockbuster: Avatar.

With over 1,500 applicants every year for this award, Ngaropo hopes to use the international connections he will make at the summit to perpetuate Māori talent. 

"I've been lucky growing up in Te Āo Māori, under the tutelage of Pou Temara, and being heavily involved in kapahaka.... so having that balance in Te Āo Māori and Te Āo Pākeha, it just menas that I can take people with me.

"As a Māori, youre not just thinking of yourself, you're thinking about your community, who you can take with you so you can all rise."

Ngaropo left for San Francisco this morning.